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20 July 2018

Weekly Brief 29 - Friday 20 July 2018

A wrap of the week’s small business news from FSB’s Westminster Press, Policy and Public Affairs Office. To sign-up for Weekly Brief emails, please use this link.

Mike Cherry sets trade agenda with Liam Fox

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry gave a speech at the Royal Society on Wednesday at an event with the Department for International Trade. His remarks criticised the tariffs that have been imposed on the EU by the US Government and stressed the need for a frictionless trade after Brexit. Mike Cherry's speech also introduced the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox, who launched new consultations on trade deals with the US, Australia and New Zealand.

Investment in innovation needed to narrow productivity gap

FSB is calling on the Government to introduce a new tax credit to address a worrying innovation gap that's holding back the UK's productivity. A new report released by FSB this week reveals that almost a quarter (24%) of small firms have not made any significant changes to products or ways of working in the last three years - with many held back by pressures on time and finances. The report was launched at the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in the City of London.

Small firms urge new Minister to address £1 billion drop in procurement spend

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the new Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility Kelly Tolhurst to take action on procurement as new figures reveal that Government spending with smaller businesses has fallen by more than £1 billion. The MP for Rochester and Strood was appointed to the role yesterday.   

Government failing to deliver on small business procurement promise

Reacting to the latest statistics on Central Government spending with smaller firms published this week, National Chairman Mike Cherry warned that the Government wastes taxpayers' money when only hiring big firms and stressed that urgent action was needed to address this issue. His comments were covered by the Times. 

Fuel duty freeze fundamental to small business success

Responding to the announcement that the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) remains at 2.4%, above the Government's 2% target, and a rise in the price of petrol to £1.27 a litre, FSB warned against a possible rise in fuel duty ahead of the Autumn Budget. The Daily Mail picked-up the intervention. 

Time to fully recognise our £270 billion contribution, say sole traders

New figures published on Tuesday confirmed that there are 4.8 million self-employed people in the UK, accounting for 15 per cent of all people in work. FSB stressed that the data highlights the need to encourage self-employed people to save for the future. Responding to the figures, Mike Cherry also called on the Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey to deliver on the promise of a pensions dashboard so savers can track their investments effectively.

LINK climbs down on cash points after calls from small firms

FSB welcomed the announcement that LINK is cancelling one of its planned ATM interchange fee cuts and postponing another. It comes at a time when reduced access to cash is hurting high streets all over the country and giving card payment companies free reign to up the charges they levy on small businesses. The Daily Mail covered the story. 

Parliamentary Mentions

In a debate on the Trade Bill in the House of Commons, Trade Secretary Liam Fox mentioned FSB's recommendation that the UK become an independent member of the WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA) in order to allow small businesses to continue to have access to government contracts. During the debate MPs also mentioned FSB's joint warning with other business groups that the Government needs to make progress on post-Brexit arrangements to bring certainty for businesses.  

National Minimum Wage: How to check you are paying correctly

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has produced a new series of webinars to help you ensure that you are paying your workers correctly. The four webinars provide employers with a walk through of HMRC's approach to minimum wage compliance and a guide to carrying out a self-review.

Capital allowances for the self-employed

If you use traditional accounting platforms, a live webinar from HMRC will show you how to claim back VAT? on the longer life items you buy for your business such as vans, tools or machinery. Register here to view the webinar on the 24 July.

Government launches £4.2 million Challenge Fund 

The Government's Work and Health Unit has launched a new Challenge Fund. This time-limited source of funding will back new approaches to helping people experiencing mental health or musculoskeletal issues to stay in work.  The initiative is aimed at individuals who are at risk of losing their job because of sickness or off work through ill health. The deadline for applications is Friday 17 August.

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